Thursday, 7 June 2018

5G realization so far, after incessant debate and discussions

AT SCWS, small cell world summit, Qualcomm announced industry first 5G NR small cell solution. The FSM100xx 10nm 5G Solution Supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave Spectrum Bands and is Optimized for Small Cell and Remote Radio Head Deployments.

The news from qualcomm give us a watchpoint, to rethink on 5G realization so far. 

The sequential term 5G has comes through to address the ITU-T IMT2020 recommendation for the next gen communication system to cater the need of upcoming applications, the improvements over ITU-T advance recommendation for 4G. Mostly these recommendations caters, spectrum efficiency, high data rates, low latency, High subscriber density, power efficiency, flexibility, fast deployment etc
But industry is not limited to these and have taken a larger perspective, 5G is being seen to enable smart cities, connect vehicles, automate industry,  create and analyze bigdata for better efficiency, use more spectrum,  provide ultimate flexibility,  adaptable to applications, quickly deployable, cater IOT/IOE, must survive with massive devices connectivity,  apply to high density populations etc. etc.

That has turned 5G to go beyond cellular, and entice a never ending brain storm to talk about it, and discuss on it, about the possible architecture and respective use cases. People have also putting their specific doubts about ‘what to be’ and ‘what not to be’ kind of discussions. Some are taking selective approaches to put the thing on ground and materialize the talks in discussions.  Industry analyst ABI Research is forecasting that mobile broadband operators will generate $247 billion in 5G revenues in 2025. 

3GPP officially stamped on NSA mode NR standardization, Industry has taken some major steps towards 5G by the end of 2017. Those are like, Verizon start providing home broadband using 5G fixed wireless networks, an effort of replacing fiber, Massive MIMO touches the ground – VERIZON,  ERICSSON and Qualcomm Technologies claim that they have completed the first ever FDD MIMO fully compatible customer service. Recently South Korea mobile carrier KT installed 5G network in PyeongChang, for the event Olympic 2018. SK Telecom has plan for 2019 and it created task force of 200 experts to move on 5G (a much appreciated move). AT&T also has put its plan to bring 5G by end of 2018, hand set devices are also gearing up for early devices in market, by 2018 and T-mobile has eagle eye on this market to disclose its 5G plan.

Among much expectations and prediction 5G is still a not well defined term, instead a hash tag to index through some conceptual use case or applicability of technological advancements. 5G is not only about a new radio with large spectrum, but much more from network system point of view, like convergence, slicing, orchestration, automation etc. 

The rationale behind the expectation and prediction are like most of the 5G will depend on technology like NFV or VNF and SDN and MEC. These technologies conceptually and systematically are well superior and captivated but far away from the maturity of their applicability, and therefore it generate a need of cohesive ecosystem emergence. So far there is no significant efforts from the industry, rather some opensource compilation like ONAP, ECOMP etc emerged but they are just bundles not the solutions. 

TM Forum has not been so obsessed about providing or propounding a standardized approach from operation & management, interoperability and integration point of view.

Various industry alliances are still not on the track they are struggling to position them self through the 5G tag.

Also 5G is about many big pictures, conceptually and technically feasible but there is far reaching efforts are required to weave out the fabric for realization.

Although, there would be much pace to adopt 5G in this year- 2018 and coming one, but true 5G will take due time to emerge due to much required deliberation and maturity of technical advances. The real start could be anticipated from 2020 which will be settling to maturity by 2025.